A tornado “wiped out” the Readyville community early Saturday, prompting Rutherford County Mayor Joe Carr to request a state of emergency request to Gov. Bill Lee, Rutherford County Government reports in a press release.
The tornado occurred near the Rutherford-Cannon county line and struck just before 2 a.m., drawing response by Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, Rutherford County Fire & Rescue, Kittrell Volunteer Fire Department, Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services, Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency and Murfreesboro Fire Rescue.
“It looked like a bomb went off,” Carr said in describing the destruction. Some residents suffered minor injures and all residents were located.
The tornado destroyed numerous homes on Readyville Street, the historic Readyville Mill, Reed’s Produce and Garden Center and the Tilford Lumber Co. building, the mayor said.
The storm ripped the roof off the U.S. Post Office.
“Some homes eerily were left untouched,” Carr said.
Some homes suffered damage on U.S. Highway 70 South (John Bragg Highway) as well.
Director Chris Clark of the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency sent a letter to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency requesting the state of the emergency request.
“The request will make sure rescue and recovery efforts are not hindered,” Clark said.
Emergency responders searched for residents in the dark and continued the rescue operations after daylight.
As of now:
– The Rutherford County Highway Department helped clear roads along with volunteers.
– Middle Tennessee Electric was restoring power to the perimeter and commercial buildings. Gas companies serving the area were checking gas delivery.
– The Solid Waste Department director was developing plans to remove debris.
– Volunteers are being coordinated to help clean the debris Sunday. A volunteer center will be set up beginning at 8 a.m. on Sunday at New Hope Church of Christ at 4296 Murfreesboro Road near Readyville in Cannon County. Volunteers and impacted residents must check in and get an armband. They should bring work gloves and hard-soled shoes.
– The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Westside Elementary School at 3714 Murfreesboro Road in Readyville.
– New Hope Church of Christ at 4296 Murfreesboro Road opened the church for victims and first responders for restroom facilities.
Carr met with Cannon County Mayor Greg Mitchell to support the rescue efforts in both counties.
Carr said the first responders “showed compassion and kindness at a time of great loss,” Carr said. “We don’t know how good our people are until they rise to the occasion. I could not be more proud.”